On Sailing

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Why I Love Sailing

My love of sailboats started when I was about 11. That summer, my twin and I went to the Hidden Valley Scout Reservation. Yes, we were both Boy Scouts... and I learned to sail on AMF Sailfish and Sunfish sailboats there.

The first thing I love about sailboats is the solitude of being out on the water— how peaceful it can be— they aren't noisy like powerboats. The other thing that attracted me to sailboats was that it takes skill to sail well— you don't rely on gasoline or batteries— any idiot can handle a powerboat or waterski— and if you've been on the water recently you'd realize how true this is. To sail well— you must be able to read the water and the wind and make decisions quickly as the conditions change. However, it still requires a fair amount of work to sail a boat, but not as much as a rowboat or canoe— so you can sail all day without being exhausted.

When I was in junior high school— my twin was going to a prep school, while I was attending the local public school. As part of being on his school’s sailing team, he often sailed out of Community Boating, Inc., which is based on the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Dave invited me to come out sailing with the sailing team one weekend. This was the first time I ever sailed a Cape Cod Mercury, a 15' sloop which made up the bulk of the CBI fleet at the time. It was at CBI, that I first sailed on Lasers... Lasers are a small high-performance single person sailboat designed for racing. Dave and I would race against each other.

Since then I've crewed on larger sailboats— J-30’s, a Hunter 27, and some others. I've also sailed on many small sailboats— Sunfish, Sailfish, Sharks, Cape Cod Mercuries, Lasers, 420’s, and a few small multihulls— mainly Hobie 14’s.

The reasons I've decided on a trimaran versus a monohull are many.

First, trimarans can move a lot faster than a monohull of the same length. Speed is important in a cruising sailboat. Being capable of higher speeds allows you to cross long distances with fewer supplies. It also provides a measure of safety when dealing with bad weather.

Second, the storage space on a trimaran is greater than that of a comparable length monohull— on most designs the amas can be used for storage.

Third, multihulls are much more stable than monohulls— this is due to the greater beam afforded by the multiple hulls. The stability is provided by the amas, not by a heavy keel. In most trimarans additional stability is provided by a centerboard system.

Fourth, multihulls with a centerboard design can have a very shallow draft— which allows you to sail in waters not accessible by the deeper draft of a monohull. In a cruising boat, this can be important— trimarans are beachable, so you can go ashore on small islands that don't have marina facilities.

Finally, the ballast-free design of most modern trimarans makes for a much safer boat. Some of the newer multihulls are so buoyant that if you filled the hull and the amas with water they would still float.

One day, I'd like to own a F-28 or F-31 Farrier-designed trimaran. The F-28 and F-31 are small enough to trailer, and store out of the water, yet large enough to handle open-water crossings. Ultimately, I'd like to sail around the world.